Derbyshire Police Federation

‘Coronavirus super spreader’ jailed

8 April 2020

A man who claimed he was a 'coronavirus super spreader' before coughing at three Derbyshire police officers has been jailed for 16 weeks.

Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, welcomed the jail sentence, saying it was ‘despicable’ that anyone would cough at officers who were putting their own health and wellbeing at risk while working on the front-line to protect their communities during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Coughing over anyone is disgusting at any time but when you consider the current crisis we are facing this man’s actions were despicable,” says Tony.

“I am pleased the court handed down a jail sentence. Anyone who treats officers in this way should feel the full weight of the law.”

The officers  has been called to a canal path in Swarkestone, South Derbyshire at around 3.30pm on Thursday (2 April) after reports that a man was being abusive and threatening.

When the officers arrived, they found a man waving a two-foot piece of wood above his head in a threatening manner. He was arrested and the piece of wood taken off him. The officers asked if he was, or had been suffering from the virus, and he replied: “I’ve already had it, I’ve got over it and now I am a super spreader so…”

He then coughed in the direction of the three officers.

Christopher McKendrick (58) of Swarkestone was arrested and charged with common assault, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, assault by beating of an emergency worker and using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

McKendrick appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on Friday 3 April where he pleaded guilty to the offences. He was jailed for a total of 16 weeks and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £122.



May 2023